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Noel Home: French Country Apron with Matching Headscarf

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Outside our petite chateau, vineyards stretch toward the foothills of the snow capped Pyrennes. Magnifique! The sweet au pair, in her matching apron and scarf, has arrived with our cocoa. Huh? What? Oh, sorry, I fell asleep again watching Johnny Depp in Chocolat. But, our apron and scarf are still magnifique. Especially since the apron is reversible. With its pretty bound edge and tidy ties, this charming holiday apron is beautiful inside and out... just like you (and Johnny Depp)!

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The pastoral pen-and-ink drawings on the front are a classic toile design in rich red and cream. The back's subtle tone-on-tone pattern features graceful birds and blooms; the perfect neutral palette to set off the warm colors of the binding and ties.

Our thanks to our friends at Moda Fabrics for providing all the French General Lumiere de Noel fabric. You can find this gorgeous collections in stores and online now, including at  Fat Quarter Shop.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • 1 yard of 44-45" wide fabric for apron front and pocket: we used Lumiere de Noel by French General for Moda Fabrics in Turkey Red
    NOTE: If you want the print on the front pocket of the apron to exactly match up with the print of the apron, as we did, you may need to purchase up to an additional 1 yard of your apron front fabric. The amount needed depends on the size of the print repeat.
  • 1 yard of 44-45" wide fabric for apron back: we used Lumiere de Noel by French General for Moda Fabrics in Tonal Pearl Oiseaux Rouge
  • 2 yards of 44-45" wide fabric for apron binding, waist and neck ties, and matching head scarf: we used Lumiere de Noel by French General for Moda Fabrics in Antique Red
  • All purpose thread: we used deep red
  • One sheet of 8 ½" by 11" paper, either blank or graph
  • See-through ruler or yardstick
  • Fabric pen, pencil or chalk
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

Print apron templates

  1. Download and print the following THREE templates: Apron Template 1, Apron Template 2 and Apron Template 3.
    IMPORTANT: Each template consists of ONE 8.5" x 11" sheet. You must print each PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
  2. Cut out each template along the solid line and tape together at the points indicated by the arrows. You should now have TWO assembled pattern templates, one to cut the armhole curve and one to cut the bottom skirt curve.

Create apron pocket pattern

  1. On a sheet of 8 ½" by 11" paper, draw and cut out an 8" x 10" rectangle  Fold this rectangle in half lengthwise to 8" x 5" and crease the fold.
  2. Unfold so there is a visual crease at the middle of the rectangle. This will be your Apron Pocket Template.

Cut scarf, bias binding and waist and neck ties

  1. From the fabric for all the above elements (Antique Red in our sample), cut the following:
    ONE 22½" by 22½" square for the scarf.
    2½" wide strips of fabric on the true bias (45˚ angle) for the apron binding. You need enough strips to create a continuous length of bias tape that is at least 120". If you are new to making bias tape, read our tutorial.
    FOUR 2½" x 27" strips for the neck ties
    FOUR 2½" x 29" strips for the waist ties

Cut apron

  1. From the fabric for the apron front (Turkey Red in our sample), cut a 32" x 32" square.
  2. From the fabric for the apron back (Pearl Oiseaux in our sample), cut a 32" x 32" square.
  3. Lay both of these 32" x 32" squares of fabric on top of one another, right sides together, matching up all four corners.
  4. Fold both fabrics in half lengthwise, so the top corners, bottom corners, and side edges line up with each other. The fold line of the fabrics will be along the bottom.
  5. On the upper left hand corner of the folded fabrics, pin the Armhole Curve Template, matching the top and left side as indicated on the template.
  6. On the upper right hand corner of the folded fabrics, pin the Bottom Skirt Curve Template, matching the top and right side as indicated on the template. Click to Enlarge
  7. Cut out both template shapes along the curved edges, then unfold both apron fabrics.

Match and cut apron pocket

  1. Fold just the apron front piece in half again, wrong sides together lengthwise, lining up all the raw edges.
  2. Measure down 13" from top raw edge, and pin the Apron Pocket Template in place so the template's center crease aligns with the center fold of the apron fabric. In the photo below, you are looking at the apron laying sideways. The top raw edge is off the photo to the right.
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  3. Using a pencil, trace some lines on top of the Apron Pocket Template to indicate parts of the printed fabric. This will help you visually line up the print when you cut out the front pocket. Draw as many parts as you feel necessary. In our example, we traced part of the man's leg and part of the dog's leg.
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  4. Remove the Apron Pocket Template from the apron and take it over to the remaining apron front fabric. Lay the template on the right side of the fabric and move it around until you perfectly match the tracing on the template to the motif on the fabric. Pin in place.
  5. Using your see-through ruler and fabric pen or pencil, draw a line ½" away from both sides and the bottom of the template; then draw a line 2" away from the top of the template. You now have a drawn rectangle 10½" high x 11" wide.
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  6. Cut out this rectangle along the drawn lines. This is the Apron Front Pocket.
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At Your Sewing Machine

Hem and attach the front pocket

  1. Fold under and press all four edges of the Apron Front Pocket ½".
  2. Fold under and press the top edge an additional 1½".
  3. Pin the pocket on the right side of the apron, carefully lining up the motif on the pocket to the motif on the apron.
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  4. Edgestitch along the both sides and along the bottom to secure the pocket. The top is, of course, open. Remember to pivot at the bottom corners and back tack at top corners for extra strength.
  5. With your fabric pen or pencil (the one you are sure will wash out), draw a vertical line 2¼" from the right side and another vertical line 2¼" from the left side.

Assemble the apron body

  1. Pin the completed apron front with its pocket to the apron back, WRONG sides together.
  2. Make sure the right sides of both fabrics are facing out; this is what makes the apron reversible. And make sure both pieces are nice and flat.

Create the binding and bind the apron

  1. Collect your 2½" bias strips and stitch them together to create one continuous length.
  2. Fold the strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press.
  3. Open up the strip, wrong side towards you.
  4. Fold each side towards the center crease and press. Fold one side nearly all the way to the center fold mark - so it is almost touching the fold; fold the other side just a little over half way to the fold line - so there is a bit of space between the raw edge and the fold.
  5. Fold again along your first crease, right sides together, so your two folded edges are together. You now have your very own double fold bias tape. It should finish at about 5/8". As mentioned above, if you are new to making and working with bias tape, read through our Simplicity Bias Tape Maker. Yay! This automatically creates a lovely length of single fold tape, so all we had to do was press it in half.
  6. Open one end of the binding and fold in the raw edge ½".
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  7. Starting at the lower corner of the right armhole curve, slip the binding over the raw edges of the apron.
  8. If you made your binding correctly, one side should be slightly longer than the other. Slip the binding over the raw edges so this longer side is against the back of the apron. Pin in place from the starting point to the bottom edge of the apron skirt.
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  9. Edgestitch the binding in place, working on the right side of apron.
  10. Stop about ½" from the first bottom corner. Back stitch about three to four stitches and clip your threads.
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  11. Take the apron to your ironing board and 'bend' the binding to follow the curve of the bottom apron edge. This will create a small triangle at the bottom corner of the binding.
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  12. Press and fold this triangle UNDER the binding on both sides to create a clean corner.
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  13. Continue pining and then edgestitching the binding to the apron from where you left off. It's super important that your stitching lines match. Use the handwheel to drop the needle until it just touches the fabric; you should be able to see the point of the needle hit your previous seam line. If it does, you'll pick up right where you left off.
  14. As you go around the apron, stop sewing ½" before every corner, and repeat the above steps until you have made it all the way around the apron and are almost back to where you started.
  15. When you are about 2" from the corner where you started, stop with your needle in the down position. Cut the excess binding at a right angle, leaving only about ½" from the finished edge of the corner.
  16. Carefully tuck the raw edge of the binding back in on itself until the folded edge is flush with the starting corner of the binding. Continue edgestitching to the corner. Back tack and clip the threads.
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Create and attach waist and neck ties

  1. Find the four 2½" x 29" waist tie strips.
  2. Fold under and press both raw ends of all four waist tie strips ½".
  3. Pin two of these strips right sides together along top and bottom raw cut edges, lining up both folded ends.
  4. Repeat with the remaining two strips.
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  5. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along the top and bottom edges of each pinned pair. The ends are open.
  6. Turn each tie inside out through one of the end openings, and press flat.
  7. Edgestitch each tie along all four edges, pivoting at all the corners. This will close the open ends.
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  8. You now have two waist ties 28" x 1½".
  9. Pin one waist tie at each lower armhole corner on the FRONT of the apron. Butt the edge of the tie right up against the binding of the apron.
  10. Topstitch in place with a box, then further secure with an 'X' through the middle of the box.
  11. Be very careful with your stitching because the stitch lines will show through on the reverse side of the apron.
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  12. Repeat steps 2-7 with the four 2½" x 27" neck tie strips to create two 1½" x 26" finished neck ties.
  13. Pin one neck tie at each upper corner on the front the apron, and as above, carefully topstitch in place with a box and then an 'X'.
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The matching headscarf

  1. Our scarf is simply made like a large napkin with a ¼" narrow double turn hem all around and clean mitered corners.
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  2. If that doesn't sound simple enough, take a look at our tutorial: Quick Tip: ¼" Double-Turn Clean Finished Corner.
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Project Concept: Alicia Thommas

Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Gregory Dickson

Other machines suitable for this project include the Bernina 380 and the Singer Fashion Mate 7256.



Comments (13)

Marilyn R said:
Marilyn R's picture
What beautifully done instructions. The best one I have seen! Thank you for sharing this with us. smilies/smiley.gif
THE Pam Fernicola said:
THE Pam Fernicola's picture
Could your model have skin any more beautiful!?!?!?!? No, it's NOT nepotism!
MarciaD said:
MarciaD's picture
Just remember to print the templates in landscape (not portrait). Only took me three pages to figure that out!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi gardenmeister -- thanks for the reminder about this classic string-turning technique. I must admit I still love my hemostats the most for turning (no chance of the thread/string breaking or pulling out of the end seam), but for really teeny ties where the hemostats won't fit, this is a perfect technique. I remember learning it way back when for spaghetti straps. Thanks again!
gardenmeister said:
gardenmeister's picture
I would like to share a clever way of dealing with strap construction.
Cut the rectangular piece needed for the strap length and cut a piece of heavy string or light weight cording 4 inches longer than the strap fabric.
Fold the strap fabric lengthwise, right sides together as if to sew the seam and then lay the cording/string INSIDE the folded fabric along the fold, but not tight up against the fold. Stitch the long edge of the fabric as usual, but also stitch across one of the short edges where the string extends through, catching the cording/string in the stitching. After sewing, carefully pull the string to turn the fabric inside out! It may take a moment to get it started, but after that it will be a breeze. After turning, open the few stitches along the short edge to release the string, or, if you have extra length on the strap fabric, just cut it off. The cord/string can be used over and over for various lengths of tubing you may need to turn for other projects.

Hope you find this simplifies your work.
michsnowbird said:
michsnowbird's picture
I was so happy to find your site by Googling "apron pattern"! I LOVE your patterns and tutos and such a nice, friendly atmosphere here!! I'll be back for inspiration and instructions. Thanks for being!
Your friend,
Theresa B. said:
Theresa B.'s picture
Bev H.,
I am a FACS educator and have my students to iron the neck and side straps in, similar to the bias fold pictured above, and then I have them to place stitch witchery inside the folds, this gives the straps a little extra body, is not too sticky for a needle to go through and allows them to stitch without worrying about sewing over straight pins. Works great and is the ONLY way I do straps that are difficult to turn. Hope this helps!
P.S. This is an awesome website and I love this project!
Judy Blinkenberg said:
Judy Blinkenberg's picture
I've been looking for a nice apron pattern and this is it! Thank you for your help as my daughter in law and I are sewing now.
GloriaA said:
GloriaA's picture
I love your apron patterns and have made several. Your directions are always very clear and precise. The photos are very helpful as well. Thanks so much for such great ideas!smilies/smiley.gif
sewheavenly said:
sewheavenly's picture
the apron and matching headscarf will make a wonderful gift even for a house warming or brides gift
Bev H. said:
Bev H.'s picture
I love, love your apron!! I plan on making it for myself, but I just finished making a chef's apron for my "gourmet cook" son which was a breeze except for turning the ties. This was an interminable task. I notice your ties require the same. Would it be possible to show us how to do that in a simple and quick way. It took me longer to turn the ties and neck strap, than any other part of the apron.